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Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

In 1982, Scott O'Dell established The Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction. The annual award of $5,000 goes to an author for a meritorious book published in the previous year for children or young adults. Scott O'Dell established this award to encourage other writers--particularly new authors--to focus on historical fiction.


All He Knew

by Helen Frost
Published in 2020 by Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN: 9780374312992

In 1939 six-year-old Henry, who is deaf, is taken from his family and placed in a home for the feeble-minded where, years later, his friends include a conscientious objector serving there during World War II.

2021 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction Award

Butterfly Yellow

by Thanhhà Lại
Published in 2018 by HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780062229212

In the final days of the Việt Nam War, Hằng takes her little brother, Linh, to the airport, determined to find a way to safety in America. In a split second, Linh is ripped from her arms—and Hằng is left behind in the war-torn country.

2020 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Finding Langston

by Lesa Cline-Ransome
Published in 2018 by Holiday House
ISBN: 9780823439607

When eleven-year-old Langston's father moves them from their home in Alabama to Chicago's Bronzeville district, it feels like he's giving up everything he loves.

2019 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Beyond the Bright Sea

by Lauran Wolk
Published in 2017 by Dutton Children's Books
ISBN: 9781101994856

Set adrift on the ocean in a small skiff as a newborn, twelve-year-old Crow embarks on a quest to find the missing pieces of her history.

2018 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Full of Beans

by Jennifer L. Holm
Published in 2016 by Random House
ISBN: 9780553510362

Ten-year-old Beans Curry, a member of the Keepsies, the best marble playing gang in Depression-era Key West, Florida, engages in various schemes to earn money while "New Dealers" from Washington, D.C., arrive to turn run down Key West into a tourist resort.

2017 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The Hired Girl

by Laura Amy Schiltz
Published in 2015 by Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763678180

Fourteen-year-old Joan Skraggs chronicles her life in a journal when she leaves her family's farm in Pennsylvania to work as a hired girl in Baltimore in the summer of 1911.

2016 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction


by Kirby Lawson
Published in 2014 by Scholastic Press
ISBN: 9780545416351

When her family is forced into an internment camp, Mitsi Kashino is separated from her home, her classmates, and her beloved dog Dash; and as her family begins to come apart around her, Mitsi clings to her one connection to the outer world--the letters from the kindly neighbor who is caring for Dash.

2015 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Bo at Ballard Creek

by Kirkpatrick Hill
Published in 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.
ISBN: 9780805093513

It's the 1920s, and Bo was headed for an Alaska orphanage when she won the hearts of two tough gold miners who set out to raise her, enthusiastically helped by all the kind people of the nearby Eskimo village.

2014 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction


by Louise Erdrich
Published in 2012 by HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780060577902

Twin brothers Chickadee and Makoons have done everything together since they were born-until the unthinkable happens and the brothers are separated.

2013 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Dead End in Norvelt

by Jack Gantos
Published in 2011 by Farrar Straus Giroux
ISBN: 9780374379933

Melding the entirely true and the wildly fictional, Dead End in Norvelt is a novel about an incredible two months for a kid named Jack Gantos, whose plans for vacation excitement are shot down when he is "grounded for life" by his feuding parents, and whose nose spews bad blood at every little shock he gets. But plenty of excitement (and shocks) are coming Jack's way once his mom loans him out to help a fiesty old neighbor with a most unusual chore-typewriting obituaries filled with stories about the people who founded his utopian town.

2012 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

One Crazy Summer

by Rita Williams-Garcia
Published in 2010 by Amistad Press
ISBN: 9780060760885

Desperate to reunite, both Chickadee and his family must travel across new territories, forge unlikely friendships, and experience both unexpected moments of unbearable heartache as well as pure happiness. And through it all, Chickadee has the strength of his namesake, the chickadee, to carry him on.

2011 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The Storm in the Barn

by Matt Phelan
Published in 2009 by Candlewick Press
ISBN: 9780763636180

In Kansas in the year 1937, eleven-year-old Jack Clark faces his share of ordinary challenges: local bullies, his father's failed expectations, a little sister with an eye for trouble. But he also has to deal with the effects of the Dust Bowl, including rising tensions in his small town and the spread of a shadowy illness. Certainly a case of "dust dementia" would explain who (or what) Jack has glimpsed in the Talbot's abandoned barn - a sinister figure with a face like rain.

2010 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction


by Laurie Halse Anderson
Published in 2008 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
ISBN: 9781416905851

The story of a 13-year-old African-American girl who is sold to a cruel, loyalist family living in New York City at the start of the Revolutionary War. Asked to spy on her owners for the Patriot cause, she is reluctant, until she realizes her loyalty lies with the side that can provide her with freedom.

2009 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Elijah of Buxton

by Christopher Paul Curtis
Published in 2007 by Scholastic Press
ISBN: 9780439023443

Its 1860, and 11-year-old Elijah is a first-generation freeborn child. His Canadian town of Buxton serves as a haven for runaway slaves. When the towns corrupt preacher steals money from a citizen whos been saving to buy his familys freedom, Elijah sets off for America in pursuit, in this powerful new novel by a Newbery Medalist.

2008 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The Green Glass Sea

by Ellen Klages
Published in 2006 by Viking Books
ISBN: 9780670061341

It is 1943, and 11-year-old Dewey Kerrigan is traveling west on a train to live with her scientist father--but no one will tell her exactly where he is. When she reaches Los Alamos, New Mexico, she learns why: he's working on a top secret government program.

2007 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The Game of Silence

by Louise Erdrich
Published in 2005 by HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780060297893

Nine-year-old Omakayas, of the Ojibwa tribe, moves west with her family in 1849.

2006 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction


by A. LaFaye
Published in 2004 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780689857300

After breaking his leg, eleven-year-old Nate feels useless because he cannot work on the family farm in nineteenth-century Nebraska, so when his father brings home an orphan boy to help with the chores, Nate feels even worse.

2005 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The River Between Us

by Richard Peck
Published in 2003 by Dial Books
ISBN: 9780803727359

During the early days of the Civil War, the Pruitt family takes in two mysterious young ladies who have fled New Orleans to come north to Illinois.

2004 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Trouble Don’t Last

by Shelley Pearsall
Published in 2002 by Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 9780375814907

Samuel, an eleven-year-old Kentucky slave, and Harrison, the elderly slave who helped raise him, attempt to escape to Canada via the Underground Railroad.

2003 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The Land

by Mildred D. Taylor
Published in 2001 by Phyllis Fogelman Books
ISBN: 9780803719507

The legacy of the Logan family begins with Paul-Edward Logan, grandfather of Cassie, the beloved protagonist of Newbery Medal-winning "Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry."

2002 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The Art of Keeping Cool

by Janet Taylor Lisle
Published in 2000 by Atheneum Books
ISBN: 9780689837883

In 1942, Robert and his cousin Elliot uncover long-hidden family secrets while staying in their grandparents' Rhode Island town, where they also become involved with a German artist who is suspected of being a spy.

2001 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Two Suns in the Sky

by Miriam Bat-Ami
Published in 1999 by Puffin Books
ISBN: 9780142300367

In 1944, an Upstate New York teenager named Christine meets and falls in love with Adam, a Yugoslavian Jew living in a refugee camp, despite their parents' conviction that they do not belong together.

2000 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Forty Acres and Maybe a Mule

by Harriette Gillem Robinet
Published in 1998 by Aladdin Paperbacks
ISBN: 9780689833175

Born with a withered leg and hand, Pascal, who is about twelve years old, joins other former slaves in a search for a farm and the freedom which it promises.

1999 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Out of the Dust

by Karen Hesse
Published in 1997 by Scholastic
ISBN: 9780590360807

In a series of poems, fifteen-year-old Billie Jo relates the hardships of living on her family's wheat farm in Oklahoma during the dust bowl years of the Depression.

1998 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Jip, His Story

by Katherine Paterson
Published in 1996 by Puffin Books
ISBN: 9780140386745

While living on a Vermont poor farm during 1855 and 1856, Jip learns his identity and that of his mother and comes to understand how he arrived at this place.

1997 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The Bomb

by Therdore Taylor
Published in 1995 by Harcourt, Brace
ISBN: 9780152061654

In 1945, the Americans liberated the Bikini Atoll from the Japanese. A year later, however, 14-year-old Sorry Rinamu was thrown into a desperate situation in which he was forced to save his island home from an atomic threat.

1996 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Under the Blood-Red Sun

by Graham Salisbury
Published in 1994 by Turtleback Books
ISBN: 9780785781189

Tomikazu Nakaji's biggest concerns are baseball, homework, and a local bully, until life with his Japanese family in Hawaii changes drastically after the bombing of Pearl Harbor in December 1941.

1995 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Bull Run

by Paul Fleischman
Published in 1993 by HarperCollins
ISBN: 9780060214470

Northerners, Southerners, generals, couriers, dreaming boys, and worried sisters describe the glory, the horror, the thrill, and the disillusionment of the first battle of the Civil War.

1994 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Morning Girl

by Michael Dorris
Published in 1992 by Hyperion
ISBN: 9781562822842

Morning Girl, who loves the day, and her younger brother Star Boy, who loves the night, take turns describing their life on an island in pre-Columbian America; in Morning Girl's last narrative, she witnesses the arrival of the first Europeans to her world.

1993 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Stepping on the Cracks

by Mary Downing Hahn
Published in 1991 by Clarion Books
ISBN: 9780395585078

In 1944, while her brother is overseas fighting in World War II, eleven-year-old Margaret gets a new view of the school bully Gordy when she finds him hiding his own brother, an army deserter, and decides to help him.

1992 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

A Time of Troubles

by Pieter Van Raven
Published in 1990 by Charles Scribner's Sons
ISBN: 9780684192123

Having crossed the country with his father during the Depression to find work in California, fourteen-year-old Roy encounters cruel exploitation by the Growers' Association of the desperate, impoverished people pouring into the state.

1991 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Shades of Grey

by Carolyn Reeder
Published in 1989 by Macmillan
ISBN: 9780027758108

At the end of the Civil War, twelve-year-old Will, having lost all his immediate family, reluctantly leaves his city home to live in the Virginia countryside with his aunt and the uncle he considers a "traitor" because he refused to take part in the war.

1990 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The Honorable Prison

by Lyll Becerra de Jenkins
Published in 1988 by Lodestar/Dutton
ISBN: 9780525672388

Because of the moral stand taken by her father, a newspaper editor who has persistently attacked the military dictator ruling their Latin American country, Marta and her family find themselves prisoners of the government.

1989 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Charley Skedaddle

by Patricia Beatty
Published in 1987 by Morrow
ISBN: 9780688066871

During the Civil War, a twelve-year-old Bowery Boy from New York City joins the Union Army as a drummer, deserts during a battle in Virginia, and encounters a hostile old mountain woman.

1988 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Streams to the River, River to the Sea

by Scott O'Dell
Published in 1986 by Houghton Mifflin
ISBN: 9780395404300

A young Indian woman, accompanied by her infant and cruel husband, experiences joy and heartbreak when she joins the Lewis and Clark Expedition seeking a way to the Pacific.

1987 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

Sarah, Plain and Tall

by Patricia MacLachlan
Published in 1985 by Harper & Row
ISBN: 9780060241018

When their father invites a mail-order bride to come live with them in their prairie home, Caleb and Anna are captivated by their new mother and hope that she will stay.

1986 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The Fighting Ground

by Avi
Published in 1984 by Lippincott
ISBN: 9780397320738

Thirteen-year-old Jonathan goes off to fight in the Revolutionary War and discovers the real war is being fought within himself.

1985 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

The Sign of the Beaver

by Elizabeth George Speare
Published in 1983 by Houghton Mifflin
ISBN: 9780395338902

Left alone to guard the family's wilderness home in eighteenth-century Maine, a boy is hard-pressed to survive until local Indians teach him their skills.

1984 Scott O'Dell Award for Historical Fiction

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